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Hawaii News

Lawmakers address foster care issues

Legislators hope to hear ideas Friday on how to prevent further tragedies following the suicide of a 19-year-old foster child who killed himself six months after "aging out" of Hawaii’s foster care system.

State Rep. John Mizuno, chairman of the House Human Services Committee, has scheduled a legislative hearing for 1 p.m. Friday in the state Capitol, Room 309, and has invited representatives from the state Department of Human Services, Child Protective Services, Honolulu Police Department, adult foster homes, foster children and foster youth advocates.

"This briefing comes in the wake (of the death) of a foster youth, Erwin Viado Celes, who had been in foster care for 14 years," Mizuno said in a statement. "After aging out, with no place to live, Celes hanged himself on Sept. 7, 2010, in Hawaii Kai, after bouncing from homes in Waianae, Mililani and Waipahu upon leaving foster care."

Mizuno said he might discuss potential legislation after the briefing "to ensure proper transition for Hawaii’s foster youth and a better support system for the foster parents."

Following Celes’ suicide, human services officials said they will provide redacted files on his case sometime this week on their website, www.hawaii.gov/dhs.

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